Inside Scoop

June 2023
In This Issue

Kristin Gallego
Artistic Landscape

Welcome to summer, or as I like to refer to the season (in our industry), chaos! Once irrigation is turned back on (and thankfully we’ve got to keep it off that much longer this year thanks to all the rain), all bets are off on how many “emergency” calls we’ll receive both day and night. Whether you’re on the maintenance side or doing construction this tends to be our high season, with not much time to breathe. So the question is, how do you keep balance? Whether you’re the business owner or an employee, when high season starts it can sometimes be tough to find balance, but unless we find it, we can easily burn out.

I happen to be married to my business partner, as well as the fact that we are raising our four kids together. Together being the operative word. We are always together…marriage, business, parenthood. So, as you can imagine, trying to balance things, especially during the inevitably stressful summer season can be cause for tension and unbalance.

Over the past 25 years here are some of the things we’ve worked to implement in our business to help create balance:

1. We work to grow business during the winter months. While this is not always within our control, we do our best to be awarded contracts and make changes for growth during the winter. This helps to prepare for the upcoming busy season. If we need a new truck, trailer or equipment, we have time to purchase while things are a little less chaotic. If we need additional employees we can hire and train while there is still time without everyone being in emergency mode. We have enough going on in the summer, tacking on these types of activities only makes things more stressful.

2. We set a time to “shut off” work. While the phone is always on and emergencies are an exception to the rule, anything having to do with work that is a non-emergency doesn’t get dealt with or talked about after 7pm. For us this has been the hardest rule to implement. We all know that as a business owner (much like parenting), your job never ends. You are on the clock 24/7. BUT, you also need to learn to prioritize and schedule. Sometimes the reason we are trying to discuss or deal with business after 7pm is that we didn’t correctly prioritize what needed to get done during the day and our head is still spinning with things left undone. Will it make a difference if it’s not done before the morning (is it that much of an emergency)? If not, it’s off the table and on to tomorrow’s priorities.

3. We take time for ourselves in late fall through early spring. Vacationing and taking time off during the summer is really off the table. It puts everything off balance and just creates more stress all around. So, we take time off and/or take a vacation during the “off” season. And why not…things are less crowded, prices are less…we’ve actually come to love this part and find huge value in it, not just monetarily but it is the reprieve before the chaos as well as after it.

4. We don’t work overtime! Again, one of those things that just sometimes has to happen, but overall should not be the norm. While for an employee overtime pay sometimes sounds wonderful, working consistent overtime can also end in burn out. As an employer, not having a consistent work schedule that you can turn off will do the same. It has been tempting over the years to think, “I can hire a weekend crew to help get all the additional work done” or “maybe having an afternoon/evening crew would help speed up production” without costing overtime and/or burning out your already full time employees. But ultimately, the more hours that are filled in the day with things needing managed (even if you don’t have to directly manage them, as the owner) or work with no break (working weekdays and weekends), you find that eventually something’s got to give. As you grow, finding the right employees, paying the right salary, setting the right expectations and balancing getting what needs get done, during normal work hours, is what can help set you up for success and balance.

I hope YOU have found balance wherever you are in business/the industry and that you have a wonderful, productive summer.

2023 Beautification Awards Dinner and Presentation

Thank you to those that joined us on June 9th at Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville for the Beautification Awards Dinner and Presentation and celebrated the East Bay Chapter’s 2023 award winners!

CLCA State President, Evan Moffitt of SiteOne traveled from San Luis Obispo to meet the East Bay Chapter members and their guests. We also had the CLCA State Director of Events, Ana Cooper of Frank and Grossman Landscape Contractors in attendance. Damion Rosby of Golden Gate Truck Center was looking quite dapper as the Master of Ceremonies. Calvin Craig Landscaping received the Sweepstakes Installation Award and Terra Landscape received the Sweepstakes Maintenance Award. Allied Landscape was awarded the prestigious Judges Award for the Master Owners’ Association project. Congratulations!!!

Check out the 2023 winning projects

Oakland Zoo Community Project

Oakland Zoo

The CLCA East Bay Chapter completed our third annual day of service at the Oakland Zoo. This year we helped Ray Odeh, Horticulture Manager, Oakland Zoo with a beautiful project at the main entrance of the zoo.  Our team of volunteers helped install a new irrigation system for native plants surrounding the entrance sign.

A special thanks to Eric Santos, BrightView for his expertise and dedication to supporting our annual volunteer projects.  Our current president Kristin Gallegos and her husband Rudy helped scope the project and donated plant materials. Cassidy Lundin, Terra Landscapes, current treasurer donated arbor mulch for the new planting area.

Loren McIrvin, Allied Landscape and East Bay Past President, donated the majority of the irrigation materials and Chris McNairy, Hunter Industries donated an irrigation valve for the new drip irrigation system.

It was wonderful to see so many of Board of Director members bring their children to support our volunteer efforts and take part in this beatification project.  Thank you to all of our volunteers who showed up and contributed to this project.

State Water Board readopts decorative grass watering ban on business and government properties

Conserving and storing water remains critical for communities recovering from multi-year drought conditions, preparing against climate change

May 31, 2023
Contact: Edward Ortiz, Information Officer

SACRAMENTO – The State Water Resources Control Board has readopted an emergency regulation that bans using drinking water for watering decorative grass (also referred to as non-functional turf) in commercial, industrial and institutional areas throughout the state.

The State Water Board’s readoption of this regulation signals the real need for Californians to continue using water wisely, and it aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 2023 executive order affirming that the multi-year drought continues to have significant, immediate impacts on communities with vulnerable water supplies across California. Although conditions have improved, they have not abated severe drought conditions that remain in some parts of the state, including those with groundwater basins that are depleted.

The regulation bans watering non-functional turf, which generally is mowed grass that is not used for recreational or other community activities, at commercial, industrial and institutional properties. This applies to areas like grass in front of or next to large commercial buildings, and some common areas managed by homeowners’ associations. In addition to not applying to grass used for recreational or other community activities, the ban does not affect or prohibit watering residential lawns or trees. In fact, the state encourages people to keep watering trees because of their many environmental benefits. The ban also does not prohibit using recycled water for irrigating non-functional turf…

Read Full Press Release
Todd Gerrow - A-G Sod Farms

Las Positas Horticulture Summer and Fall Classes


Upcoming Events

CLCA East Bay Chapter Events for 2023
  • Board of Directors Annual Planning Meeting
    August 3rd
    Zoom Meeting
  • Oakland A’s vs Giants
    August 6th
    11:30am Ewing Co-Hosted Tailgate
    1:07pm Baseball Game
    Purchase Tickets Here
  • Smart Controller Training
    with Fernando Terrazas of Ran Bird
    September 14th
View Our Calendar
Landscape Contractors Insurance Services, Inc.
Monarch Truck Center
West Coast Turf

Investing in Training Your Operational Staff: Unlocking the Benefits

by: Loren McIrvin – Allied Landscape / CLCA EB Past President

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape business environment, investing in the development and training of your operational team members has become a critical component of developing any successful organization. By providing them with the necessary training and resources, companies can unlock a multitude of benefits that enhance productivity, efficiency, and overall performance.

One of the primary benefits of investing in operational staff training is the development of enhanced skill sets. By providing targeted training programs, employees can gain valuable knowledge and expertise specific to their roles. With a broader skill set, employees become more versatile, capable of taking on additional responsibilities, and adapting to evolving job requirements. This not only improves their individual performance but also contributes to the overall effectiveness of the team and improves employee retention.

Investing in the training and development of operational staff has a direct impact on employee engagement and satisfaction. Providing opportunities for growth and professional development shows employees that their contributions are valued and their career progression is supported.

Investing in the training and development of operational staff is a strategic decision that pays rich dividends for organizations. Enhanced skill sets, increased productivity, improved employee engagement, and superior customer experiences are just a few of the many benefits that result from such investments. By equipping operational staff with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed, organizations empower their employees, create a positive work environment, and foster a culture of continuous improvement (Kaizen). As businesses strive to remain competitive and adapt to changing market dynamics, prioritizing the training of operational staff has become a vital driver of success in the modern workplace.

The CLCA East Bay is currently developing a list of trainings for our frontline / operational team members that we would like to offer our chapter members in 2024 – if you have thoughts on what we should consider please reach out and let us know.

Partner Spotlight



Hunter puts all the information you need to succeed at your fingertips. This free online education system offers in-depth courses on Hunter products and installation procedures, so you can work more efficiently. The power to:

  • Work more efficiently
  • Install with confidence
  • Troubleshoot with ease
  • Conserve more water
  • Conserve electricity
  • Sell with assurance


Contact your local Hunter Industries representative today:
Jeremy Yearton
Mobile: 669-253-3755

Partners for Success

CLCA East Bay Chapter Invites you to become a partner

Download the flier below for the 2023 Partners for Success Program and mail your payment today.

Become a Partner
Become a CLCA Member

Flowers for Mom, not so Rosy

by Frank Niccoli

Who doesn’t love a bouquet of flowers?  They are used in all of our greatest, saddest, and most impactful times of our life.  Our wedding day is all about flowers.  Every funeral has a substantial showing of flowers to honor the passage between life and death.

How many of us are in the supermarket on Mother’s Day picking up a bouquet for Mom?  And Prom night is about the corsage.  But what about Mother Earth?  Are those flowers just as good for her? After all, she is the only planet we have, and we should honor her on Mother’s Day.

The flower industry has a huge impact on the planet.  First of all, it is estimated to be around a $60 billion dollars a year industry.  Mother’s Day account for around 30% of all flower purchases, second to Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Hanukkah.  The United States is the biggest consumer of cut flowers and none or very little are grown here. We get our flowers from Columbia and Ecuador. Columbia is, by far, the biggest producer with almost 700 million stems of flowers grown in a year.  Ecuador is second, with Kenya in third.  Kenya flies most of their crop to the European Union. These producers try their best to get these flowers from bloom to vase in 3 days.  Longer than that the value of that flower drops as does the profits.

What is the environmental cost to Mother Earth?  Pesticides, pollutants, and water use are the factors that we need to understand when we talk about environmental damage.  The equity issue is also a huge concern.  It is estimated that to supply the consumers in the US with their much-cherished bouquet, 360,000 plus metric tons of CO2 is dumped into the atmosphere to fly them, truck, them, and refrigerate them so that you can have the perfect bouquet.  That is the equivalent of 80,000 cars driven for a year.  In the producer counties these plants need heated glass houses. They also need more chemicals in the form of pesticides in order to flourish.  Who’s is paying the butcher’s bill for this.  You got it, workers and people living near these flower factories.  Those who work there are exposed to toxins in fertilizers and in the pesticides needed to form the perfect bloom.  Preservatives are added to the water of these cut blooms to keep them “fresh” for mom.  These workers are working well over 16-hour days to produce these blooms.  That workforce is mostly women.  Somewhat ironic when you think about this.  The very women who we chose to honor are actually hurting the women who work to produce these bouquets.  Their children are exposed to the pesticides from the clothing and shoes of these flower workers. Of course, they will hug their kids after a long day at work.  Children living close to these farms show a significant decline in short term brain activity due to the pesticides.

What can be done? You can ask questions.  Are these plants ethically and sustainably produced? Flowers that are certified as Fairtrade are plants that are certified to come from farms that have a strict labor and environmental standards.

The second question is all about money. Follow the money.  If you purchase from a local farmer’s market the plants are grown locally.  If you buy them from the big chain supermarkets, well, they are buying them from producers who do not pay their workers well and the high amount of chemicals is not regulated.  Who doesn’t want to give mom a nice dose of a pesticide on her special day?  Whole Foods is using the Sourced for Good program to ensure that labor abuse and pesticides are at a minimum.

The third question to ask is where do these flowers come from?  You cannot look on a bouquet of flowers and see the country of origin like a can of peas.  So, ask.

What is the alternative? Look for florists that environmentally friendly and support them. Ask your local gardeners for help in putting together a bouquet. Flowers are everywhere and can be sourced with a ten-minute walk. Granted, it may not be the perfect bloom, but do you really think mom cares about that.  I have gotten the best hugs from my mom when I have brought her a bouquet from weeds.  Flowers are flowers and the intent is the true bouquet.
L.H. Voss Materials, Inc.
Pacific Nurseries
California Truck Centers
Delta Bluegrass - Jeff Henninger